The Sad Story of One Backslidden Cook

Hello friends!  

So Amanda and I have been reminiscing about my cooking days as though they were ages ago. Um, it was only a year ago that I was flipping out gourmet fruit tarts like I was the Barefoot Contessa.  Let’s just say that apparently my passion for cooking faded quickly.   I went from thinking about cooking every second of the day to loathing going to the grocery store altogether.  Not sure how that happened.  But it did.  Maybe it was a temporary newlywed high. Or maybe it had a little something to do with cooking on a tight budget.  I started planning my meals and it really became a chore to cook.  I’m not sure what happened but I just know it happened. 
Has this ever happened to you? Is there any hope for a cooking revival for me or am I done for…?  Maybe considering my familial history (a.k.a. my Mom), cooking is just not in my destiny.  Perhaps it was only a fool’s hope that cooking would really stay dear to my heart.
To make matters worse, I really don’t like cooking in the summer.  I prefer making winter meals because I love the warmth of the oven on a cool day.  All this to say, I am in a full on cooking crisis.  I have one and only one recipe that I really like right now and I thought you might, too.  It is wonderful for a warm day.  When we make it I try and make extra because it lasts so well throughout the week.  It pairs great with basic Turkey Burgers, if you are a Turkey Burger fan.  
So here it goes, my one little recipe just for you.  This is pretty much the only thing I’ve made in the past two months.  I wish I were exaggerating.  Please don’t judge me.
Couscous with Spiced Zucchini
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plain couscous
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 lb zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint (crucial to the recipe, don’t leave it out)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


Bring broth with 1/4 teaspoon salt just to a boil in a small saucepan, then pour over couscous in a bowl and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside until ready to use.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté onion with 1/4 teaspoon salt, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and sauté, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add zucchini and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and sauté, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to moderately low, then stir in coriander, chili powder, cumin, and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes. Gently stir zucchini mixture into couscous and cool to warm or room temperature. Just before serving, stir in mint and lemon juice.

Makes 4-6 side-dish servings. 

Recipe from Gourmet Magazine September 2005 

Do you have a recipe that rocks your world right now? Or would you rather just eat out?  

Love to all,


P.S. This is for Roxanne Worsham… since you are going on vacation and all.  I usually don’t share my secrets but here it goes.  This is the mascara I use and I buy it over and over and over again:

I go light on the bottom but way heavy on the top.  The natural look is not for me- I like blackest black 🙂 


201 Responses to “The Sad Story of One Backslidden Cook”

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  1. 51
    Cindy says:

    I love to cook, BUT, I am so busy, I dont have time. By the evening, all I want to do is relax, which I cant because I have 4 kids.

    BUT, one of our favorites is chicken and noodles.

    6 cups chicken broth
    1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
    1/2 cup chopped celery
    1 cup onion
    1 cup baby carrots, halved crosswise
    1 large parsnip, peeled and chopped
    1 tsp minced garlic
    1 bay leaf
    1/4 tsp pepper
    2 cups uncooked kloski noodles (or reams, or Amish, or egg noodles)
    1/4 cup snipped fresh dill


    Put broth, chicken, celery, onion, carrots, parsnip, garlic, bay leaf and pepper in a large saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes, or until chicken is cooked and vegetables are tender.

    Discard bay leaf. Remove chicken to a plate to cool slightly. Add noodles to soup; cover and simmer 10 minutes, or until tender.

    Meanwhile, cube chicken. Add to soup along with the dill. You can add all kinds of veggies. Yum!

  2. 52
    Elizabeth says:

    This is so amazing and better yet easy!

    Our recipe club is starting to post the recipes we use each month…in May our theme was the Good Things Catered website, which you get the credit for. I think I have mentioned that before. I might get whacked from the comments for being so redundant!!

  3. 53
    Sasha says:

    I posted earlier, but thought of one more Summer recipe that I make for every single BBQ we attend. It's always a huge hit.

    Baked Potato Salad:
    7-8 red potatos (cooked with skin on & chilled & chopped in bite sized pieces.)
    Mix the following 3 ingredients well:
    1 1/4 c mayo.
    1/4 c oil
    1 tsp vinegar
    Add above in a large bowl and toss with the following:
    1 jar real bacon pieces
    1 bunch finely chopped chives
    1/4 c chopped fresh parsley (optional)
    1/2 – 1 c grated cheddar cheese
    salt & pepper to taste

  4. 54
    Julie says:

    Melissa – it's not just you. I am currently on the downside of cooking as well. A true cooking funk. The previous one lasted a couple of years but that's when we could afford to eat out a lot. Now we resort to cold cereal, popcorn, mac & cheese. Anything easy and inexpensive.

    Good thing I'm funny. Makes my husband keep me around:) He might be hungry but at least he's amused!

  5. 55
    Donna @ WayMoreHomemade (Carnitas) says:

    Hi Melissa. I do understand the backslide thing. I went into a serious cooking slump when my daughter was born only to finally come out of it when my son was about 3 1/2. All told, about 7 1/2 years. I have come back swinging though and I have a new found passion for cooking and baking. If it's really there, it will come back. And I'm also much more of a winter cook. Lasagne, chicken pot pie, tortilla soup… warm food on a cold day. Right now I'm loving carnitas. Even though it's done in the oven, it's really simple and is not overly heavy for summer time. Click on my name & that's the link to the recipe.

    Be blessed!

  6. 56
    Pat from Kansas says:

    Cooking and cleaning…..ugh..only do it because it has to be done.

    Everyone in my family knows how I stand on this. So much so that, once when we were playing Tabu, it was my husband’s turn. He pulled out a card and started out by saying, “This is something Pat doesn’t like to do…” and suddenly, one sister-in-law shouted out, “Cook”, while the other sister -in-law shouted out, at the same time, “Clean”. Actually the card was ‘Travel’.
    (I do like to go places, just not the actual ‘traveling’ part–motion sickness).
    Sadly, since I can’t afford a house keeper or to eat out alot, I have learned to tolerate both.

    Here is my favorite take along dish….
    1 can of cherry pie filling
    1 lg can of pineapple chunks, drained
    2-3 bananas sliced

    put in a pretty dish and serve cold

    Also, One time my dear son even said to me, “Mom, you are the best warmer upper ever!” Ode to boxed dinners!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. 57
    Becky P says:

    Hey Melissa and Siestas! Here is a quick roast beef sandwich recipe that feeds a crowd if need be, or you can just make enough for 2! Also, you can keep the leftovers in the fridge and reheat all week:

    24 Potato Dinner size rolls
    1 lb. Roast Beef from deli (or in your deli meat case)
    1 lb. Provolone cheese
    Peach Preserves

    Slice the dinner rolls horizontally as a group.(I buy them in packs of 12, so this recipe is enough for two packs) On one half, generously spread Dijonnaise, and on the other half, spread the peach preserves. Layer the peach preserve side with the roast beef, and layer provolone on the dijonnaise side. Put the halves together, and with a very sharp knife, cut the rolls into individual sandwiches. Wrap in foil and heat for 15 minutes in a 350 oven. Serve hot or cold.

    Bon Appetite! Love, Becky

  8. 58
    Sara says:

    Thinking about helping you out actually forced me to consider a meal in advance. This is something I don’t do, yet I should. Hey, I’m the mommy! My answer to “What’s for dinner?” strikes fear into my family’s hearts: “Oh, I’ll scare something up…”

    Anyway, here’s a super-easy chicken recipe for a hot summer night.

    1 chicken breast per person
    1 lemon
    2 tablespoons regular olive oil
    1/2 cup all purpose flour

    Heat the olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Slice the lemon in half. Place the chicken breasts between a folded piece of waxed paper and pound them with the side of a small plate, like a salad plate, until they’re about 1/2” thick. Salt and pepper each breast. Put the flour in a pie pan and dredge each breast through to coat. Pan should be hot enough by now, but turn up to medium-high if necessary. Sauté each side until lightly brown. When done and while still in pan, squeeze a lemon half over each breast, being careful to pick out any seeds.

    Serve over rice or noodles or sliced on a bed of greens. Very refreshing!

  9. 59
    Dustin & Danielle says:

    Hi! I enjoy reading this blog daily!!! I have never left a comment before, but this topic is very dear to my heart! I do not cook :/ My dad always did the cooking in my house growing up. Mom wasn’t a lousy cook, but Dad just always had that extra flare, ya know?! Everything just tasted better out of his hands. Now that I’m married, my husband cooks! How awesome is that?! I marry a man in uniform (USAF) and a man that cooks for me 🙂 I do bake and make a mean cheesecake though. Here is my recipe:

    * 15 graham crackers, crushed
    * 2 tablespoons butter, melted
    * 4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
    * 1 1/2 cups white sugar
    * 3/4 cup milk
    * 4 eggs
    * 1 cup sour cream
    * 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    * 1/4 cup all-purpose flour


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9 inch springform pan.
    2. In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs with melted butter. Press onto bottom of springform pan.
    3. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese with sugar until smooth. Blend in milk, and then mix in the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate. Mix in sour cream, vanilla and flour until smooth. Pour filling into prepared crust.
    4. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Turn the oven off, and let cake cool in oven with the door closed for 5 to 6 hours; this prevents cracking. Chill in refrigerator until serving.


  10. 60
    Anonymous says:

    Here is wonderful blog site that a friend of mine has. She is a fantastic cook and I have fixed her recipes before.

    Happy summer!
    Kelli M
    Madison , MS

  11. 61
    Lynn says:

    My absolute favorite summer dish is Pioneer Woman’s Asian noodle salad – it is a huge hit in the convent!!! Super easy and delish!

  12. 62
    Lauren says:

    Yo woman. I love to cook, but for about a week every month, I get into a cooking funk and don’t make anything (or anything good, anyway). What helps me is reading good food magazines like Cooking Light or Bon Appetit. Usually something sparks my interest.

  13. 63
    Moose Mama says:

    Melissa, I have never loved you more!!

    I only cook because I have to. When we were first married (26+ years ago) I had dozens of new cook books and I made something new every night for MONTHS! Yeah, that faded. I HATE shopping for groceries. I HATE planning for meals. I HATE just the whole thing, except the eating.

    Walmart has these really cool dinners in a box in the frozen section. You “almost” feel like you’ve really cooked. ahhhhhh.

    My poor daughters.

    Melana in Wyoming.

  14. 64
    Anonymous says:

    Hi again! I just wanted to let you know that I posted the recipe for the stuffed shells & I need to make a correction on something that I typed. In the instructions I said to mix the ramining ingredients together, excluding the parmesan cheese, but it should have said excluding the parmesan cheese & the spaghetti sauce. Sorry about that!!


  15. 65
    Kim says:

    Toss some veggies into some good Italian dressing, let them soak up the goodness, and toss them onto the grill. It’s awesome.
    I’ve come to the point where the challenge is fixing the best possible food for my family at the lowest possible price. I keep records to try to beat myself. Last week the cashier at the grocery store handed me my receipt and at the part where they usually say, “You saved ___”, she did a TRIPLE take and finally said, “You saved $60.00!” If you aren’t using it, take a look at

    Good luck.

  16. 66
    CoveredbyHim says:

    Recipe looks great…as does the mascara! I love this blog site 🙂

    My husband is a chef, but I do the cooking at our house. I really like cooking the fun, cool, new things, but day-in-day-out dinner is not anything that rocks my boat. I'd say you'll wax and wane on cooking. I cook pretty much every day because it's healthier for my family.

    My family's favorite recipe is an awesome Alfredo Chicken Lasagna. You 2 could probably eat on it for a week!

    10 lasagna noodles (cooked- or I buy the ones you don't have to cook)
    2 jars Alfredo Sauce (I like the low-fat, roasted red pepper variety)
    1/4 cup milk
    3 cups coarsely chopped, cooked chicken
    14 oz jar artichoke hearts in water, drained & chopped
    2 tsp oregano
    1/2 c chopped red pepper
    1/2 cup finely chopped onion
    2 clove garlic, minced or pressed
    3 cups shredded mozzarella
    4 oz crumbled feta
    2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves

    Oven to 375. Combine Alfredo sauce, milk & oregano in bowl and whisk. In a separate bowl, combine chicken, artichokes, pepper, onion, garlic, mozz and feta. Mix well.
    Assemble lasagna:
    2/3 cup Alfredo sauce mix in bottom of 13 x 9 pan.
    Top with 5 lasagna noodles (overlap)
    Add 1/2 of the spinach.
    Add 1/2 of the chicken mixture.
    Repeat, starting with 1/2 remaining Alfredo sauce.

    After 2nd layer, pour remaining Alfredo sauce over all. Cover w/foil and bake 45 min. Remove foil, bake 15 more min.
    Let stand 15 min before serving.

    Good luck-have fun cooking!

    Russell, KY

  17. 67
    Shellie Paparazzo says:

    You know what. It was probably mostly just a phase. You still will enjoy cooking on a seasonal basis, but won’t be destined for a future doing cooking shows, although, I could be wrong. It’s been known to happen. I, personally, hate cooking, cause my budget consists of trying to find ways to make macaroni and cheese out of the box taste a little better. I think that’s why I hate cooking. Boring food is all I can afford. Anyway, gotta go to a soccer game now.

  18. 68
    Hannah in Tennessee says:

    I think cooking is like exercise in that if you start out too hard, you burn out quick. Hmmm…it sounds like I’m talking from experience doesn’t it! 😉 You might find that you enjoy cooking with easier resipes that don’t use as many ingredients. As a mom of two who cooks on a major budget, I plan for the week and go to the grocery store only once. You think shopping is a chore? Try it with a two-year-old and a five-year-old. I’m lucky to get out of there with the things on my list. Ha! Anyway, the way I do it is to plan ahead, shop once, eat the fresher stuff first in the weekly plan, and make only fairly simple recipes. And, it’s not illegal to buy a rotisserie chicken, bake some potatoes in the oven with some salt and garlic in an aluminum wrap, and bake some asparagus at the end for the last 15 minutes. It will seem like it took all day and really it only took about 10 minutes of prep if that. Also, eat outside if you have a spot. Everything tastes better outside! We made tacos (from a seasoning packet), refried beans from the can, and simple spanish rice the other day and ate it out on the patio. Much better with the beauty of nature all around!
    Best of luck on your cooking journey! I hope you learn to enjoy it again, even if it’s not gourmet.

  19. 69
    Heather Smith says:

    I LOVE pioneer woman’s (I learned about her last summer from this post…THANK YOU!!!) Veggie Bagel I think it is listed under “cool crisp” in her ABC order all recipies section. It is AWESOME!!! …and we (OK HE, the hubby is making it!) are having it tonite!

    I LOVED Becker’s Pasta from last summer bible study…and I LOVED all the recipies from last year!

    THANK YOU for your cooking lapse ’cause we are gonna benefit again! 🙂

  20. 70
    Anonymous says:

    Favorite dinner for hubs and I is grilled chicken on top of salad greens with fresh strawberries, blueberries, nuts (almond or walnut) and either Ken’s Rasberry Pecan dressing or a Key Lime Dressing he purchased in Brevard,NC. You can also put Craisins and mandarin oranges on it.

  21. 71
    Anonymous says:

    HI Melissa! I have had to learn to love cooking…I always have enjoyed baking desserts but 2 1/2 years ago when my husband and I moved from Texas to Australia I had to relearn everything I thought I knew about cooking! The cheap beans and rice type meals from back home were so expensive here!! Also the Aussie’s don’t really use canned foods in their recipes and laugh that many American recipes call for a “can” of something! Restaurant food is much pricier here too so now I cook and we eat food in our home almost 7 nights a week. When we lived in Texas we ate out probably 2-4 times per week just because it was so quick and convenient and cheap! I guess all that just to say that when all the other options get taken away it’s really great to see that you can cook tasty and inexpensive meals at home.
    P.S. I really loved the comment about trying to get some friends and rotate cooking for each other – I think that would step up my game for sure! Although my precious children prefer my food to other’s…when our baby was born the older siblings kept asking when I was going to cook again because they didn’t like all the new types of meals brought in by neighbors!! That’s when I started feeling much better about my cooking…

  22. 72
    Cara says:

    I enjoy cooking and meal planning, but I often get stuck in ruts. Our favorite summer meal is grilled chicken and grilled veggies with couscous. It’s also the favorite meal of my three kids who are 5 and under!

    Grilled marinated chicken:
    Chicken breasts
    1/3 c. soy sauce
    1/2 tsp ground ginger
    1-2 chopped garlic cloves
    splash of sherry or chicken broth
    1 Tb of brown sugar
    Mix ingredients together and add chicken. Marinate from 30 minutes to all day.

    Grilled veggies – you can really use whatever you want, we like peppers, onions, mushrooms etc. Just cut in large chunks and either marinate in Italian dressing or just poor some olive oil and salt and pepper over. Thread on skewers or use a veggie grill basket.

  23. 73
    Heather in CA says:

    ….and another thing….plug your crock pot in somewhere in the garage or back porch or patio….keeps the kitchen that much cooler and can drive your neighbors crazy with the good smells!

  24. 74
    Joan says:


    In our home my husband is a MUCH better cook than I am. I am spoiled because he makes Sunday dinner every Sunday, and because I work over the supper hour, he cooks during the week as well. We used to get the Quick Cooking magazine until we found out that they have a book at the end of the year that has all the recipes from all the magazines for that year. I am not consistent with this, but when I am with it, I go through a book and pick out meals for a week. I write down the name of the dish and what page it is on, and what year book it is in. Then I write down the groceries I need to get to make the recipes. I like Quick cooking because it is usually a can of this and a jar of that, some meat, spices and you’re done! Well, That’s what I do! I work at a restaurant, so on some rare occasions I get to bring home something from there.I would rather bake than cook. A very easy summer dessert is Lemonade Pie. All you need is: 1 can of frozen lemonade concentrate,thawed, 1 can of sweetened condensed milk, 1-12 oz. tub of Cool Whip and 2 graham cracker crusts. I mix the condensed milk and lemonade concentrate together first, fold in the Cool Whip and pour it into the two crusts. Then it goes into the freezer. Someone said that lime juice concentrate tastes good too, but I haven’t tried that yet. Thanks for the post!

  25. 75
    the4leegirls says:

    PRAISE GOD!! I have studied your lashes and nearly pulled mine out with a crimping tool trying to get your lash “look”! Tomorrow I am dragging my kids to Wal-mart or Target!
    P.S. I don’t cook, that’s one reason why I try to look pretty. LOL!
    Love to Atlanta,
    Allison Lee

  26. 76
    Amy says:

    Would prefer having a chef at my house, but alas! I like the websites and Oh and – check that out for coupon deals to resturants! Hope it helps!

  27. 77
    Mary Bess says:

    It is hard when that first rush of having someone else to cook for is gone, especially when the weather gets warm, the calendar gets busy, and the appetite generally decreases (at least I’m told it decreases somewhat in the summer).

    I find that this time calls for alot of sauteed fresh veggies…no recipe needed usually, just steaming them enough to get their color to really shine. And then there’s the joy of a wonderful fresh BLT…somehow they just don’t taste the same in the winter. And if you feel the need for a “prepared” meal-look up BLT soup on a recipe browser…it may sound strange but it is a fantastic summer meal.

    Another thing that I find fun in the summer is experimenting with chicken salad recipes…from as simple as 5 ingredients (sour cream, grapes, celery, salt and pepper) to my favorite with over 30! It keeps well in the fridge and gives a great option for any meal or snack during the week.

    Mama used to create masterpieces of hoagies/poboys in the summer (she’d always pack two for Daddy’s lunch on the tractor). Maybe these aren’t necessarily culinary masterpieces, but they make “playing” in the kitchen fun again when you can pretend to be a Sub artist.

    One quick recipe for my favorite homemade salsa–3 ears of fresh corn, grilled for about 6 min. til tender and well-marked, cut the kernels from the cob and mix with 1 pt quartered grape tomatoes, 1 small onion chopped (I prefer purple), 1 jalapeno pepper (seeded and finely chopped), 2 Tbsp lime juice, 1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, and 1/4 tsp salt.

  28. 78
    Larsen Family says:

    Well, don’t give up hope. You can master cooking any season of the year. We all go through slumps and tired of the chore of cooking. I love to cook, but sometimes, it becomes hard. Don’t sweat it.

    Grilling is a big hit in the summer for us. Salads w/ different fruits and veggies w/ poppyseed dressing is super yummy. Stirfrys are quick, healthy and inexpensive. Food is a help when you need to find something to make. I use my crockpot sometimes in summer too. Great way to make pulled pork sandwiches. (southern living 2006 has a great recipe.)

    Good luck, sorry to not actually post recipe, but hopefully this helps.

  29. 79
    Rebecca says:

    With strawberry season going strong I make one large box of strawberry jello recipe on the box. let it sit in refrig for about 1/2 hour. then mix jello with 1 tub of cool whip, 1 cantainer of clean hulled fresh strawberries sliced and a ready made angel food cake from store bakery broken into pieces. mix it all together and then back to refrig for about an hour. great stuff. I also go through stages of cooking. Summer I want it quick and easy, winter warm and cozy.

  30. 80

    Hi Melissa Thanks for your post I am kinda with you on the cooking issue, I am single and its gets ruff to cook for one I usually make chicken in in the slow cooker with potatos and carrots and that feeds me for about 4days because I take my lunch to work. Also during the winter or during the summer love to make homemade chicken noodle soup with fresh rolls.Don’t be so hard on yourself it will all come to you when your ready to cook. Thanks for sharing your recipe have a great week.
    Love to you Carol albuq. nm
    Green chili stew is good to and very easy to make we eat alot of green chili her ein albuquerque the hotter the chili the better
    hope this helps you.

  31. 81
    cheryl says:

    I wish I had time to give you a recipe…we leave for India in the morning. We will be in Rajahmundry and some of the surrounding villages. keep us in your prayers.

  32. 82
    Mary Jean, also known as "The Dough Nut" says:

    I go through my season’s of cooking. I look at it as my gift to my family. I love a meal that gives you everything in one dish.

    Check out my blog at I have lots of recipes on there that are easy and healthy…along with lots of other fun stuff!

    Love you all’s blog…you are such amazing women!

  33. 83
    Kathleen says:

    I cook because I have to–not because I love it– though I love to bake. The secret to getting the meal on the table every night is to know what you will be having and fix it in the morning (heat it up for supper). This makes the evenings so much nicer! I try cooking before I go to work in the morning.

  34. 84
    happy pamela says:

    Oh girls! My favorite summer dinner:

    -basil, tomatoes and bells (peppers) picked fresh from the garden, chopped and tossed into a pan with salt and olive oil
    -boil your favorite pasta (angel hair is mine)
    -throw in your pasta bowl and top with chunks of goat cheese

    You’re gonna love it!

  35. 85
    Melinda says:

    My dear Melissa,

    I am a long-time “fits and starts” cook. I wish it was a more consistent thing, because when I’m in the “zone”, I’m actually really good at it! However, there is always something that crops up and throws off my momentum…a vacation, being sick, or my current circumstance…MOVING. I’ve put on 5 lbs in the last month just from moving back to Texas and REAL MEXICAN FOOD (Praise GOD from Whom ALL spicy blessings flow!)

    I’ll be perusing these recipes with you in hopes that there are a few healthy, low-cal ones in here that will put me comfortably back in my clothes!

    OH – really glad to hear about the mascara…will it help those of us who are lash-challenged? :o)

  36. 86
    a cup bearer says:

    Melissa, please don’t post this comment, but I was wondering if you received the cookbook I sent a couple of months ago (from Perry, GA). I mailed it with a package to Amanda — and was just wondering if they shipped it to you. It was a cookbook my mother had written for her daughter-in-laws — and everybody wanted one so she published it. Just wondering.


  37. 87
    a cup bearer says:

    Yes, the desire comes and goes — but not your man’s appetite. Sorry.

  38. 88
    Lucy from PA says:

    I love to cook and bake but I too go through seasons when i either don’t know what to cook or don’t want to cook. Earlier this week my 13 year old daughter requested that we have steak salads sometime. I love when my family gives me ideas of what they are hungry for. We had that tonight.

    Our strawberries in our garden are just starting to ripen so our diet for the month of June will be Strawberry Shortcake almost everyday. It is a favorite in our family.

    Easy Strawberry Shortcake

    2 cups flour
    2 Tbls. sugar
    4 tsp. baking powder
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
    1/2 cup butter, softened
    1 egg, beaten
    2/3 cup milk

    1 qt. strawberries, sliced

    Combine flour, sugar,bak. powder, salt and cream of tartar. Cut in butter until mixture is the size of peas. Add egg and milk: mix well. Spread in greased 8×8 pan. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes.

    Serve with berries and whipped cream. We like it with milk and some sugar sprinkled on the berries.

    We also love to grill and here is a great marinade for chicken:

    Garlic/Lime Chicken

    1/3 cup soy sauce
    1/4 cup fresh lime juice
    1 Tbls. Worchestershire sauce
    1/2 tsp. dry mustard
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
    1/2 tsp. pepper

    Combine 1st 5 ingredients in a resealable plastic bag or glass container and add the chicken breasts. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Drain, dicarding marinade. Place chicken on grill and sprinkle with pepper and grill for 12 -15 minutes or until juices run clear. 6 servings.

    Happy Summer Cooking!


  39. 89
    Stacie M. says:

    This is an easy, delicious and beautiful dinner – the entire family loves it! I like to serve it with a quick salad and homemade garlic bread. Also, Perfect meal to take to someone!

    Three Cheese Chicken Penne Pasta Bake

    * 2 cups penne pasta, uncooked
    * 1 pkg (9oz) fresh spinach leaves
    * 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
    * 2 tsp. dried basil
    * 2 cloves garlic, minced
    * 2 Tbs olive oil
    * 1 jar (14 1/2oz) spaghetti sauce
    * 1 can (14 1/2oz) diced tomatoes
    * 2 oz. cream cheese
    * 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided
    * 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cook pasta according to package directions (under cooking slightly), adding spinach to boiling water for the last 1 minute.

    Cook and stir chicken, basil and garlic in oil in large skillet on medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Add sauce and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Simmer 3 minutes or until chicken is done. Stir in cream cheese.

    Drain pasta mixture; return to pan. Stir in chicken mixture and 1/2 cup mozzarella. Spoon into 9×13 pan. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle with remaining cheeses. Bake, uncovered, for an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

    Serves 5-6

  40. 90
    Aunt Rhody says:

    Well, first question is “are you pregnant?” cause I hated to cook when I was pregnant. And, second question, is do you own a grill? That’s the only way to cook in TX in the summer.

  41. 91
    Georgia Jan says:

    Melissa: Hey sweet friend! You know, I prefer winter-meal cooking too! Soups, stews and casseroles are so bubbly good and comforting.

    Our sweltering Georgia summers find me just repeating basic menus of grilled chicken or fish (changing up the marinades), steamed garden vegetables, salads, and or pasta.

    Because you are such a natural cook (and real real smart), this dry spell will wane and you will love cooking again. All of life is about seasons coming and going…

    Now – this is a GREAT recipe! In fact, when I made it I thought “Oh Melissa needs to be here in my BIG OLD kitchen with me…” She would be so proud of me using this fancy balsamic vinegar… 🙂

    Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts

    · 4 slices thick-sliced bacon
    · 1 tablespoon minced garlic
    · ½ cup balsamic vinegar
    · 1 ½ tablespoons sugar (I used Splenda)
    · 1 tsp salt
    · ½ tsp ground black pepper
    · 2 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts, cut in half

    1. I microwaved the brussels sprouts in a bowl with a little water for Southern “doneness.”

    2. In a large nonstick skillet, cook bacon until browned and crispy.

    3. Remove bacon and crumble, set aside to use as a final garnish before serving.

    4. Reserve ¼ cup bacon drippings in pan.

    5. Add garlic to bacon drippings, cook over medium heat about a minute.

    6. Add balsamic vinegar (yee-hah), sugar, salt and pepper – stirring to combine and de-glaze the pan.

    7. Add Brussels sprouts, stirring to coat.

    8. Cover and cook to desired tenderness, stirring often (microwaving lessens cooking time a good bit).

    9. Garnish with crumbled bacon.


    Love to you,

  42. 92
    christine says:

    Melissa, it is more challenging to cook for 2 and to try and keep it somewhat healthy, but I do have 2 favorite, really simple, recipes for you. The first is a fruity grilled chicken salad you can make for 1 or 100. The other is a fruit torte that serves about 12. Neither requires any real cooking–mostly assembly!

    Chicken salad
    Romaine lettuce
    Fresh sliced strawberries
    Mandarin oranges–drained
    Sliced almonds, and walnuts–or the glazed ones in the produce section which are so good!
    Grilled chicken slices–your own, or Tyson Italian ones that are precooked.

    Just assemble all–use as much as you like of each–and top with Brianna’s blush wine vinaigrette(Publix has it)

    Fruit Torte
    fresh berries–I use blueberries, raspberries and strawberries and sometimes slice bananas
    8 oz (or so) of Whipped topping–can use fat free
    8 oz (or so) of raspberry sherbet
    1 angel food cake–I use fat free

    Let whipped topping and sherbet melt, then mix them together. Add the berries–stir well
    Tear cake into bite-sized pieces
    Alternate layers of cake and berry mixture
    Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight


  43. 93
    Anonymous says:

    My advice to new brides and new moms?

    Memorize the Dominos number.

  44. 94
    Georgia Jan says:

    Melissa: Just one more recipe!

    Chicken a la Melissa

    · 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
    · Ground black pepper to taste
    · 6 slices bacon
    · 1 jar dried beef (Armour)
    · 2 cans cream of chicken soup
    · 1 1/2 cups sour cream
    · 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened

    1. Pepper but do NOT salt chicken breasts.

    2, Wrap one slice bacon around each breast.

    3. Place dried beef in bottom of baking dish.

    4. Place bacon-wrapped breasts in baking dish.

    5. Mix together well: cream of chicken soup, sour cream, and softened cream cheese.

    6. Cover chicken breasts with mixture, and cover baking dish tightly with foil.

    7. Bake for 1 hour @ 325 degrees.

    8. Remove foil and let brown well.

    Serve over a bed of hot rice – the gravy it makes is so good!

    You are a blessing!

  45. 95
    Kath says:

    Who cares about cooking right now?!? I’m just excited to try a new mascara the next time I’m at Target. Perhaps the new, long, full lashes that entice my hubby will far outweigh the fact that I haven’t cooked dinner…again.

  46. 96
    Anonymous says:

    I love recipe books and magazines. I love to read recipes, but to cook, that takes too much work. When I do cook, it is always an elaborate meal with appetizers, main meal and at LEAST two desserts. I guess that is why I don’t cook on a daily basis!

  47. 97
    Carla says:

    Hey Melissa, I know what your’re talking about girl. Mine hit me when we became empty nesters. Even as a child I was used to cooking for 8-10 people so whipping it up for 2 didn’t seem so “appetizing”. I’ve found grilling a new way for ‘quickies”. Don’t try to do elaborate recipes, just jazz up the old ones.Now, here’s my new summertime dessert;

    Twinkie Cake

    8-10 twinkies cut in half longways layed out in a cake pan

    1 can eagle brand milk
    8 oz sour cream
    8 cool whip

    Mix these together and pour over twinkies

    Spread cut up strawberries-as many as you like-over cream

    Spread strawbery glaze over berries

    can top with a littl coolwhip– EAT AND ENJOY Carla Lee

  48. 98
    Deanna says:

    Currently I am boycotting cooking and blaming it on the fact that I hate the kitchen in the house we currently live in. (we rent so not much I can do about it) Truthfully though, if it weren’t that I’d find something else I’m sure.

    I’ve gone in and out of those phases and even worked Pampered Chef for a while! When I began having children I got back into it again and hung in there longer. My kids are all teenagers now and like to have what we affectionately call “make it your own dadgum self” dinner.
    My best suggestion for you if your husband likes to grill at all – get a good grill…doesn’t have to be fancy but needs to be a “real man” kind of grill not a little patio kind. Get him some grillin tools and let him go! This works for us through the entire spring and summer and my husband has even been known to grill in the rain or snow once in a while – our tradition in protest of the winter weather is to grill out after the first snowfall…no matter how many inches it is!

  49. 99
    Poorna says:

    I just blogged about how much I despise cooking! I would MUCH rather eat out. Sure it may cost more, but it probably tastes better than anything I would make and there are less dishes to do at the end of the night. 🙂

  50. 100
    Teri~Facedown says:

    I am trying to eat better and lose weight, so I’ve been making smoothies! It’s a great way to start me day because I’m normally not a big breakfast eater!

    4 strawberries
    1 banana
    1/2 mango
    1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
    1/2 cup milk
    1 cup ice

    Throw it all in the blender and blend until it’s done!

    It’s technically not a food recipe, but it is great and healthy!


    Oh, and don’t worry about being in a cooking funk. Enjoy it while you can. Eating out isn’t always an option for us beacuse we have two growing boys and one growing girl…they eat A LOT! So cooking is a necessity here. I really enjoy cooking, but I don’t love it all the time. It’s pretty normal to have seasons! 🙂


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